Playoff berth on the line as Mumbai host Kolkata today

May 16, 2012, 11:05 IST | Harit N Joshi

Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders may be happy holding the second and third spot respectively in the points table, but today's Indian Premier League clash can virtually seal a playoff berth for one of them.

 With just one point separating both teams and only a league game in hand after today’s match, MI and KKR are expected to go all out at the Wankhede Stadium.

Harbhajan Singh (right) with Sachin Tendulkar during a practice session at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK

Mumbai seem to be peaking at the right time, having lost just one match in the last six games. Although the victories haven’t been dominating considering the galaxy of stars in their ranks, Mumbai seem to regain their self-belief. There is renewed vigour in their batting line-up especially after last-over wins against Pune Warriors (May 3), Chennai Super Kings (May 6) and Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday.

Mumbai would be looking to register their third successive win and maintain a clean slate against KKR in the IPL-V. On the other hand, Kolkata would look to avenge their 27-run thrashing last Saturday at Eden Gardens and also their winning momentum after back-to-back losses. 

Gautam Gambhir would look to exploit Mumbai, who have been vulnerable at home, losing four out of their seven games. Harbhajan Singh’s men have done exceptionally well on wickets favouring batsmen, but have struggled on a seaming or spinning track. MI have heavily criticised the Wankhede wicket for its ‘inconsistent’ nature in the tournament. MI’s wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik was the latest to fire a salvo after their loss to RCB on May 9.

“There was a lot in it (the pitch) initially. The ball was seaming around a lot. It was a little damp. It was a bit like a Test match,” said Karthik, who top-scored for the hosts with 44. It remains to be seen what wicket is dished out in MI’s final home league match.  Kolkata, however, need to dust off the stunning last-ball defeat against Chennai Super Kings on Monday in their final home game of the season if they desire to match on-a-roll Mumbai. 

Bhajji’s wishlist
>> Rohit Sharma scores another ton
>>  Kieron Pollard continues his fine show
>>  Ambati Rayudu maintains his fine form
>>  Lasith Malinga takes a fifer
>>  Gautam Gambhir departs early

Gauti’s wishlist
>>  He scores a century
>>  Yusuf Pathan regains his form
>>  Sunil Narine continues to impress
>> Brett Lee takes a fifer
>>  MI batsmen falter at home again 

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